Cat Signals Plans for Hybrid Excavators to Come

Caterpillar unveiled its 336E H hybrid hydraulic excavator in October 2012, and while its order board didn't open until February, the company had signed orders for the new machine the day after the October reveal. This level of customer enthusiasm has pushed talk of the next hybrid machines to come.

"Customer interest has been off the charts," said Ken Gray, global product manager for Caterpillar's large hydraulic excavators. "They're not only reaching out to Cat dealers to learn more about the 336E H, they are placing orders."

The 336E H hybrid is a 37-tonne (82,000 lb.) excavator powered by a 308-hp Cat C9.3 diesel. It is assisted by a hydraulic hybrid system that stores energy in accumulators, and yet the hybrid's parts list remains 98-percent common with the conventional 336E excavator. Cat says customers can expect the 336E H to use up to 25 percent less fuel than a standard 336E and move up to 50 percent more material per gallon of fuel burned compared to a 336D in a wide variety of operating conditions.

"We're getting a lot of questions about what other models will be available as a hybrid, and when," Gray added. "While I will not divulge our full hybrid strategy, I will say we will have two additional hydraulic hybrid models, the 336F H and 336D H, on the way."

Both the 336F H and 336D H models will have the same hybrid Cat Electronic Standardized Programmable (ESP) pump as is used in the 336E H. The 336F H will feature a Cat C9.3 ACERT engine that meets Tier 4 Final/Stage IV emissions standards (legally required to sell machines in the U.S. on January 1, 2014). The 336D H will feature a Cat C9 ACERT engine designed to meet the needs of customers in those countries with emissions standards different than Tier 4 Final/Stage IV.

"We have active development programs for the machines which will follow those two," Gray said. "And we will continue to add appropriate hybrid technology to models where it adds value for customers—where it lowers owning and operating costs to help their businesses succeed. Our objective is to ensure our customers make more money with Cat products than they can with others."

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